By Haji Nsereko Mutumba.
In the 1980s and 90s, the National Resistance Movement (NRM/A) was an epitome of patriotism, discipline, loyalty and constitutionalism. Because of these values, the wanainchi rallied behind NRM during and after the protracted bush struggle.
During those days, torture was unheard of, cadres were under strict instructions to differentiate between the misled and the misleader, leaders were the servants of the wanainchi, the NRA commander in Chief and the NRM Chairman had a zero tolerance policy for any officer or member who violated the above values, public offices and public officers were easily accessible and always listened to wanainchi.
Whenever he visited a place, his first meeting was with the LCI committee and local opinion leaders. Unlike today, the VISOs, PISOs, GISOs and DISOs were highly effective because they were facilitated to do their job. They were the nation’s ‘security cameras’.
As I write this today, the NRM government is struggling to explain the torture allegations stemming from the now infamous Nalufenya detention center in Jinja.
President Yoweri Museveni recently spoke out against torture at Nalufenya and I commend him for showing leadership on the issue. But like in the past, I expected him to take a tougher approach on the issue of torture because I do not want NRM to be equated to the past regimes during which torture was rampant.
I therefore expected the President to outline his course of action against torture and even order for a special inquiry into the allegations.
I would also have loved to hear the President also assure Ugandans on other security concerns like the Kijambiya criminal gangs that are terrorizing wanainchi country wide.
Corruption is still all over the place, the security agencies – especially the Police is accused of gross human rights violations, criminal gangs point to security personnel as their accomplices, investigations and operations to resolve the wave of murders especially of prominent Muslim clerics and security personnel seem to be futile.
The principle of differentiating the misled from the misleader seems to be violated because on several occasions, the Police have treated the children, wives and relatives of suspected criminals like real criminals.
A case in point is the arrest and detention of children aged 2-20 years simply because their father or guardian is a suspected criminal by the names of Abdu Rashid Mbaziira.
Muslims in particular seem to be on the receiving end from; the criminals, society and the government.
They feel targeted by the security operatives that they accuse of witch-hunting them. They are also disappointed by what they see as discriminative bail. The Muslim clerics who are currently Luzira have never got bail yet the likes of Mumbere and other non Muslims accused of serious crimes were granted bail in a few months.
Senior Muslim clerics continue to receive death threats and even murder attempts.
There is also a new movement in form of ‘born again’ street preachers who have embarked on hate preaching against Muslims. These openly refer to Muslims as terrorists, criminals and sinners but to my surprise, no one dares to take action against them. They claim that Luzira is meant for Muslims.
The President should note these concerns and address them. He should also bring the NRM house back to order because many cadres seem to have lost truck of the real philosophy of NRM.
The writer is the UMSC Spokesperson.